By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Southwest Philadelphia non-profit that helps ex-offenders re-enter society announced it’s teaming up with more than a dozen companies. As KYW Community Affairs reporter Cherri Gregg tells us– the group’s effort could change the landscape of opportunity for returning citizens.


Gateway To Re-Entry works with ex-offenders to help change what founder Tracey L. Fisher calls “stinking thinking”– holding weekly support groups– to help ex-offenders break the cycle of criminal activity.

At 48-years-old, Fisher spent 22 years in a federal penitentiary.

“I changed when I was incarcerated, I didn’t wait to come home to change.”

Three years after his release he stands clean-cut and suited up. He’s the founder of Gateway to Re-Entry- a group that helps ex-offenders change their mindset, providing the tools for success.

“You can’t walk up on the corner and ask individuals to stop hustling and don’t have an alternative for them.”

So he’s joining forces with more than a dozen organizations to change the economic landscape for those in need of a second chance.

“People should not just be given one shot in life.”

He adds, “They’re going to guarantee jobs. Not maybe we’ll give you a job.”

Michael Brown is CEO of Environmental Construction Services. He’s made a pledge that his company will consider Fisher’s non-violent ex-offenders when making new hires.

“In a three year period we’re looking to hire 100 new employees.”

Philadelphia is home to more than 300,000 ex-offenders.

Gateway to Re-Entry is holding its first black tie fundraiser on May 22, 2015 at the Hilton on City Line Avenue. Get details by calling Dr. Carol Simmons at 610-284-6246.